“A decision was made at the beginning of the year that Chris Cooley would no longer be a part of the broadcast team,” Donaldson tweeted Thursday. “He’s one of a kind and will always be around as a beloved alum.”
During an interview with the Team 980′s Kevin Sheehan on Thursday, Cooley said he has known he wasn’t in the team’s broadcast or media plans going forward for “a while” and that he had “no hard feelings” about the decision. He said he will no longer record podcasts for the team and encouraged fans to give the new broadcast team some time to make an impression.
“I think DeAngelo Hall is going to be pretty good at it,” he said. “I think people should give him a chance. I think Bram’s going to work hard, and you’ve got to give guys a chance. Something completely new like this is hard for someone who gets used to things. I think it was hard for me when I started, because replacing Sam [Huff] was huge. A lot of people didn’t like me in the first year, so I think you just give DeAngelo Hall a chance, I think he’ll do a good job, and give Bram a chance.”
Cooley, a fan favorite during his nine years as a tight end with Washington, joined Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen on Washington’s radio broadcast team after ending his playing career before the 2013 season. The move came a month after Huff announced his retirement from the booth after 38 years. Jurgensen retired before the 2019 season, and Michael retired last month a day before he was named in a Washington Post story that detailed a culture of sexual harassment within the franchise.
“It was something that was really cool for me to be a part of, to be able to call the games and to be able to continue to travel with the team, and to have that camaraderie and experience as I got out of my career,” Cooley told Sheehan of his broadcasting career. “You hear so many former players talk about what they miss, and so many players miss being around a team. I got to do that for the last six years. That’s been a really great opportunity for me.”
Cooley, who created a name for himself as an analyst with his frank — and often critical — weekly film breakdowns on 980 and his knack for breaking news about his former team, told Sheehan he had increasingly considered leaving the broadcast booth to pursue a career in coaching in recent years.
When it became clear that climbing the coaching ranks in the NFL would require too many short-term moves for his liking, Cooley, who has two young children, turned his attention to the high school ranks. He said he planned to coach high school football this fall before the season was canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to be around my kids on the weekends,” Cooley said. “For me, personally, moving forward in the next phase of my life, I can’t spend every weekend on the road. … You can’t coach high school football and [have a football broadcasting job].”
Cooley, 38, said the Washington Football Team “provided a great job” for the past seven seasons, despite the fact that many of the games he called were ugly losses.
“Hopefully,” Cooley said, “DeAngelo Hall and Bram will have some better games to call over the next couple years.”
Fletcher, a four-time Pro Bowl selection with Washington and a teammate of Cooley’s from 2007 to 2012, retired after the 2013 season. He has been an analyst for CBS Sports Network’s “That Other Pregame Show” since 2014.
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